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School Lunch Box Ideas

 Ideas for interesting, nutritional and safe packed lunches

Jump to:   Lunch Box Safety Guidelines  |  Keeping Lunch Boxes Interesting & Nutritious  |  Ideas for Lunch Boxes



Go to:-    Cooking for Families  | Family Recipes General Guide to Nutrition  |  5-A-Day Portion Sizes | Food & Health


Even if you're an old hand at making up packed lunches or lunch boxes for your family, below are some ideas you may find of interest to ensure your child has safe, nutritious but interesting food to tuck in to. They work just as well for adults, whether you're eating at the office or at home.


Lunch Box Safety Guide: Keep it cool - keep it safe


With today's centrally heated buildings, even cold winters can be hazardous to packed lunches, so the first thing to think about is how to make sure your child's pack lunch is safe.  It's therefore worth investing in an insulated lunch bag or box.

There are lots on sale - from pretty girly ones to more macho boy ones - which are specially designed for children.

A good way of keeping the interior contents cool is to include a very cold bottle of water or fruit drink, however you can also fun buy mini plastic ice blocks in a variety of little shapes from cars to fruit which won't add too much weight you your child's lunch box/bag.

Finally, it's a good idea to place softer foods in rigid plastic boxes and apart from the usual Tupperware  boxes  which  you  may already own, there are containers which are specially designed for the purpose.



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Keep Lunch Boxes interesting and Nutritious

You may have heard of a report in August 2009 by the Cancer Research Fund about not giving children ham and other processed meats in their lunch boxes. The Food Standards Authority (FSA), quite rightly issued a statement urging people not to panic. The key to healthy eating is "moderation in all things"  and a balanced diet. So ham will be included in this editorial.


Below are some ideas for your children's lunch boxes. In general, make sure you include carbohydrate in the form of bread, rice, cereals or pasta;  protein in the form of meats, poultry, eggs, cheese or nuts;   fresh produce in the form of fruit and/or vegetables and a drink, you won't go far wrong.


Although "easy to eat" items such as sandwiches are great, you can make it a little more interesting by simply putting all the ingredients into containers and letting kids make their own concoctions on site.


Also, try not to include the same protein ingredient every day, for example a balanced weekly menu may consist of the list on the right.

Same goes for fruit and vegetables. If you vary the colours your child will be more likely to get the complete range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Monday - Egg
Tuesday - Sliced Meat
Wednesday - Cheese
Thursday - Chicken
Friday - Fish e.g Tuna


Ideas for Lunch Boxes and Packed Lunches


Mini Pitta Breads,  Tortilla Wraps,  Mini Bagels,  Small  Rolls, Sliced Bread, Pasta Salad,  Rice Salad, Bulgur Wheat salad

(separately or combined with a carbohydrate)

Small chicken drumstick, A small wedge of Frittata,  Tinned Tuna, Tinned Sardines,  Egg Mayonnaise,  Hard Boiled Eggs, Slices of Chicken fillet, Grated Cheese, Soft Cream Cheese, Mini Cheeses, Sliced meats such as HAM and Beef, Cubes of Corned Beef,  Peanut Butter,  Hummus or Bean Dips plus Crackers or Vegetable sticks for dipping

Fresh Produce

Carrot Sticks, Cherry Tomatoes, Slices of Cucumber, slices of Sweet Peppers,  Celery Sticks,
Whole fresh fruit such as small bananas, pears, apples, kiwi or a few small fruit such as grapes, cherries or blueberries, chunks of melon


Fromage Frais, Fruit Yoghurts, cubes or slices of Cheese, Cottage Cheese


Water, Flavoured Waters, Fresh Fruit Juices,  Squash, Milk or Flavoured milk


Healthier snacks include dried fruit such as raisins, nuts, cereal bars, Olives (why not?!)


One last comment: there is absolutely no point in trying to force children to eat things they don't like. Hopefully, if you started early enough, your child will have relatively wide-ranging tastes by the time he/she goes to school, however, if they don't like wholemeal bread then give them white bread - and if they don't like apples then give them bananas.



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